Rule of Life for Urban Solitaries – Musings

Many many people live alone. Some of these solitaries are interested in spirituality and seek the greater wisdom of the universe.

Your life in the hermitage is post-career and non-family. Your purpose is now depth. You are making yourself a magnificent receiver and savorer of Higher Consciousness. Your work is listening and savoring the interesting and inspiring thoughts that come to you. The thoughts come from The Texts or they come from your own Higher Consciousness.

Do you need a rule of life? Following rules doesn’t work. A rule should spring organically from what you are already doing. And then it is written out as the life you love and plan to continue because it brings you into close contact with that Great Spirit, that Great Consciousness with which you seek to align yourself.

  • Don’t eat the food of the masses because you want to purify your body. In this, you are humble enough to love yourself and nurture yourself and the spirit that graces your accumulation of conscious cells. Accept the yearning of all these entities to know themselves and the Great Consciousness. You won’t be enlightened. You will be nourished.
  • Minimize social media and the news in order to purify your thinking. How can solitude be experienced if the phone is constantly tugging you to check it?
  • Maintain and relish a state of non-relationship. You don’t need to talk about yourself or anything else with others. No one will understand. Society always seeks to mainstream it’s monks by saying we are social animals and will be mentally ill if we don’t have relationships. This threat of mental illness becomes a demon to address in your hermitage. Stare it down and it will leave.
  • Meditation for long periods for no reason, no goal. Find the emptiness not present in active society. Meditation is not for getting but for quiet. It is an experience of endlessness. Only in a quiet mind can this experience be obtained in modern urban life.
  • Study Texts. It feels good to savor the meanings already discovered. If it feels right and good, begin a project of copying the texts in neat penmanship. In the meditation of copying, the body and mind are integrating truth and a path forward can be found. You can no longer be taught by a superficial pastor. Only a Master will satisfy. You do have access to a Master’s teachings.
  • Spend hours on your feet, outside; and then lift the weights. This behavior is contrary to modern life. Endless miles join with endless silence.
  • Voluntary poverty to drink your spirit to the dregs of life. Self-inflicted non-comfort. Your hermitage is cold in the winter and warm in the summer, but not too much of either.

A tiny bird sits on a bare branch, enduring the cold north wind. Consciousness is here and wants anyone to know it. Embrace the Presence. Why not you? Every monk starts from nothing and always is just that.

Photo by Pixabay on

The Poverty of Not-Having

There is the poverty which lacks basic life necessities. Then there is the poverty which disentangles from getting. Freedom is found in disentanglement.

Addiction is a life of getting. As an obsessed person, look at the role of fear in your life of getting. It is not just that you are addicted to a substance. You are a slave to the anxiety of not-getting.

Acceptance of not-having relieves the anxiety of not-getting. Not-having is a kind of poverty. Actualize and be aware: voluntarily accept a poverty of not-having-my-addictive-substance or behavior. Voluntary poverty is a spiritual practice. There is a positive energy to the idea of voluntary poverty, that dissolves obsession as soon as you actualize the thought of poverty. Accepting this kind of poverty is a way to be obedient to the Life Within. This kind of obedience offers freedom for the soul to soar. In poverty you are free.

Photo by Creative Vix on

Mind versus Marathon – an essay

Thesis: doing something that is hard, sets up a mental battle between my True self and my quitter self. Accomplishment feels good. The conscious experience of the battle is what I try to describe and analyze here.

To set the scene, I signed up for a double marathon. A double marathon is running two marathons in two days. The location of the race is an eight-hour drive from my home. The races are on a short course that is eight laps plus an out and back to make 26.2 miles, a full marathon. This is a small race with only about 100 people, including half marathoners. Many of the full marathoners will be walking the whole way. The event is very non-competitive. It is designed for people who complete many marathons per year or who want to try a multi-day event.

I have been to this event several times. In the past, I have sometimes failed to complete full marathons each day. Sometimes, I don’t even go because I think the weather will be too bad. Sometimes, I quit halfway through because I’m worried about the long drive home. Or sometimes my brain comes up with some other plausible excuse for quitting. The worst is when I quit because I can’t remember the point of why I am walking around in a circle while my feet hurt. I just get in the car and leave. Halfway home, I might remember that I wanted to complete a marathon, but then it is too late. At one point, I only signed up for courses that were out and back, because I knew I’d finish them since that was the only way to get back to my car.

Marathons are usually not physically difficult if you do them as slowly as I do. They just require patience since they take a while. What I am wanting to dig deep into is my mental battle. What I am trying to do, why, and how. What is the deep purpose of completing a double marathon on some dinky course, slowly? There is no grand glory of a personal record or first-place award. The only thing is me, whatever pain is in my feet and my brain that is arguing for quitting.

This time, I vowed to complete the event period. I even booked a hotel room partway home to prevent myself from leaving the event halfway through the second day. This excuse was eliminated because I already paid for the hotel room and I wouldn’t have an eight-hour drive ahead of me. The weather looked dry if a bit cooler than I wanted. No excuse there.

The drive down to Dallas was uneventful except for the inevitable traffic jams at Oklahoma City and the North Stemmons Freeway in Dallas. But my mind was mostly full of resentment about work and a desire to tell them to eff themselves and stomp out the door. I wanted an excuse to quit (another essay). It was ugly up there in my brain. But the push of my brain to quit a situation that has some complexity and difficulty is applicable to my marathon quitting problems. How the heck is it that I can complete something I have decided I want to do?

So, I made it to Dallas. I checked into my hotel. I picked up my packet. I ate. I laid on the bed. I woke up at 4 am and got up at 4:30. Plenty of time to get ready for a race that starts at 7. Driving to the race and parking were easy. Day 1 of the race, my head was filled with quitting. No really. My feet were hurting a bit, but not enough to stop. Maybe I should drive home a day early, hotel room be damned, because it might be snowing near my house the following day. Is there some way I could get out of this activity without anyone knowing? Or, I don’t remember all the things my brain had to say, but it was not pretty inside my head. I finished a full marathon on day 1 and went back to my hotel. That evening I had to tell myself, “keep going no matter what.” We are seeking something, a reality that is beyond quitting. Keep going even if you have to walk a lot. The voice of the quitter can be identified and disobeyed. Train your mind to do what you want, not what it seems to want, like quit. I want to do what I want to do and not what my brain is yelling about.

Early in the morning of the second day, I was sitting in my hotel room contemplating the upcoming marathon attempt. By chance, I caught this podcast featuring Sally McCrae and 507 miles, Sally is a very famous elite ultra-runner. She did this running project for her reasons, but what struck me was her mental attitude. She self-decided to do a thing and was self-motivated to complete it. It hurt but she kept going. Could I get my mental act together? Can I decide to do a thing and do it even though my brain is yelling about quitting? That is my dilemma.

I realized that I really wanted to feel however I would feel on the other side of the event. Sally said, “Hope carries you up and over a mountain.” My hope was to get the emotional boon on the other side of my mental marathon mountain. I asked my Inner Strength to support me, to be my crew, my pacer, and my cameraman.

Day 2 of the double marathon was surprisingly easy. Despite feeling a bit sore and tired, I actually went faster on day 2 than on day 1. I didn’t fight with myself at all. I somehow got into a mental space that was beyond my typical brain, a zone of sorts. My quitter voice wasn’t heard or even considered. I like feeling accomplishment, A LOT. Finishing day 2 felt great. This personal victory felt great. It opened the door to future racing. Hope shines forth for more great feelings.

Why did I succeed this time? I honestly believe it was because a) I took away some of the excuses and b) firmly decided that I would finish. I wanted to feel finishing more than I wanted to feel quitting and I was willing to remember this.

There is a cult of “do hard things” present in America and on YouTube. Hard things build character, yadda yadda. I’m 64 years old. I should be done doing hard things. Right? For me, hard things range from getting out of bed in the morning to going to work, to running an ultramarathon. A hard thing is anything that requires grit, resilience, or perseverance to accomplish. “Hard” is a mental state. Hard is getting out of your head and doing what you want to do. Old folks especially need to do hard things. I have to get some help from some Higher Self to do this. If I ask, the help comes. But I have to receive the help. Being in receiving mode instead of quitting mode is where I get lost. I forget. I fail. Doing a hard thing is somehow vital to my life, to feeling good about my very existence.

There was no snow at all on the drive home. A complete success.

The Spiritual Path

This morning, it is cold and rainy outside. I was doing my morning meditation. I was thinking of my own mental conflicts, and of a person who has asked me for spiritual help. I wanted to know what to say to her. I thought this:

The first step is to want something more from life.

The second step is to want to search the realm of the spirit for the something more.

The third step is to decide to devote your life to something more.

Thus you will attract the answers to your questions.

Pretty simple eh?

Photo by Julia Volk on

Urban Hiker

Usually, I write race reports. I have been in races lately and finished them. But running races is not the most exciting thing in my life today. The most exciting thing is walking. Or urban hiking. Urban hiking is for non-elite city dwellers, who don’t live near fantastic mountainous trails, and who never plan to hike from Mexico to Canada or Georgia to Maine. Yes, I could hike even though I don’t live near anything amazing.

Last week, I walked 20 miles by myself. I was so impressed that I did it. It was not painful and the time went by easily. I began to envision really long distance hikes around the city where I live.

And so I bought a backpack. A typical hydration pack that I use for running doesn’t have a big enough back pocket for a jacket. In the winter, it could be that layers of clothing need to be taken off or put on as the day progresses. And I want to be able to hike for hours without going home. I wanted a pack that could carry a large hydration bladder. And hip pockets for my phone and gloves. A pack to untether me:

I do still run. Races are signed up for. But I also like the low stress of walking. Without purpose. Not training. Walking in winter, I don’t sweat like I do running, so the layers stay dry for hours. Whereas, when running, I sweat, and pretty quick, my layers get wet.

Today I walked along a busy road. The sidewalk was mostly there, missing in a couple of spots. Continuous cars. Quicktrip and Starbucks. It takes 3 miles of road walking to get between trail A and trail B. Next time, I’ll park closer to trail B, because, on trail B, you can walk for many miles on bike paths away from cars.

Do you ever drive in your car along a busy street and see a person walking with a pack? Do you wonder if they are too poor to have a car, or homeless, or something? I mean, why would anyone walk along that street if they didn’t have to? The crazy old lady who likes to walk, that’s who. It could be the secret millionaire from next door who puts on scruffy clothes and a pack and goes for a long walk.

Try it sometime.

A Girl Who Didn’t Get on a Couch

Yesterday I ran 11 miles. Fast for me at 11:30 per mile. I plan to run a full marathon this coming Saturday. I hope I get it done in less than 6 hours. It is normal life for me to do two or three hours of exercise a day plus a short evening weight workout. Even when I had a career, I got ninety minutes of exercise done a day. I didn’t own a couch.

I might be unusual, but I don’t feel like I should amaze anyone. I am not very fast or very strong, but I do keep up the daily work.

I just got done reading two books which I’ll characterize as man books. They were both written by men in their thirties, who also happen to be extreme athletes. By extreme athlete, I mean pushing a sled across Antarctica. Rowing across the Drake Passage. Climbing Everest. Hunting in the Yukon for a month in a tent, and packing out hundreds of pounds of meat. Being cold for the month and not having enough to eat. The point of these books seems to be to somehow get people to put down their phones and do something physical.

One of these books had the nerve to use PhDs and cardiologists to point out the shortcomings of American life, including stating that running on a treadmill while watching netflicks isn’t all that good. You shouldn’t eat whatever diet you are eating. The only good thing seems to be that you should strap on a 50 lb rucksack and hike around in the cold for hours. I have to drive across town to find a trail of more than a mile. If a bike path isn’t good enough, then shove off. A bike path is what I have.

These man books have helped me to have compassion for the average American. That sedentary job pays the bills and has health insurance. We can’t just quit. Neither of these authors has children. Children change the game and provide just as much reward as dragging a sled across Antarctica. I wouldn’t insult the small percentage of adults who actually do get regular exercise. By making it seem impossible to do something for my health, I felt very discouraged about what I actually do accomplish. This feeling from someone in the upper one percent of health trajectory for a sixty-three-year-old. If you want to encourage someone, I wouldn’t write a whole book pointing out what’s wrong with their life, with a back story about some dangerous expedition that changed your life. The back story is interesting but not in my lifetime.

Calm down self. Appreciate the run you just did. Appreciate the work you are going to do with your mind on your computer this afternoon. Appreciate the piddling ass weight lifting session you’ll do this evening. Meditate and sleep well soul You have well-being without freezing to death.

In case you are interested, check out “12 Hour Walk” by Colin O’Brady, or “The Comfort Crisis” by Michael Easter.


It is not a beginning time nor an ending time. It is the times in between. It is the time of the mid-day devil. Fears are not below consciousness. One wonders what one has gotten themselves into. The real deal happens in about 5 weeks. I signed up for a 50 mile race.

Yesterday I jog/walked 20 miles. At the end, I was able to question myself. Are you sure you want to keep going for another 30 miles? Yesterday, I might have said no. At the same time, It was not possible for me to make myself contact with the race and transfer to a shorter one. Some part of me wants to do this thing, 50 miles.

A 31 mile race is hard, but I know I can do it. A 50 mile race is hard and I don’t know if I can do it, except I do know. I know that I can walk it out when my feet get tired. Patience is the thing that is lacking. Why do ultramarathons at all? I want to have the mental experience that occurs in the final miles, and the amazing feeling that occurs at the end, a snapshot of triumph.

I’d rather train for and run 50 miles than have cancer. And we do have a choice.

I’m reading a book called “12 Hour Walk,” by Colin O’Brady. He is an adventurer, climbing Everest, dragging a sled across Antarctica, rowing through the Drake passage off South America. I’m not anywhere near his league. He defines the American Dream as, “…tied in with purchasing an agreeable house in suburbia, working all day, and being content with about fourteen day excursions.” I wouldn’t say that I was content with that life. It seemed more to me like a quiet hell. And that’s why I got out the instant I thought I could afford it. Realistically, one does need money. I focused on financial self-sufficiency in my life, not adventure.

Actually, really big adventurers never even entered my mind. I was focused on getting a good job. Now that I am older, what can I realistically do? A 50 mile race fits that idea.

Race Report – Ultrapalooza 50K

Dateline September 3, 2022: I did it!

So exciting because of all the stress leading up to this event. What idiot signs up for a 31 mile race on Labor Day weekend? We all know it is hot on Labor Day weekend. So I spent the summer running in the heat. I covered 290 miles in July and 370 miles in August. In both months, I averaged 5 weight sessions per week, of 25 minutes each. Going into this race, I was in great shape with no injuries.

Ten days out from the race, the last day to drop down in distance, the race day weather looked incredible: temps between 61F and 81F, clouds, and maybe some rain. But each morning thereafter, the temps got hotter and hotter. The humidity would be high. Finally, two days before the race, temps were predicted in the 90s, I freaked. It takes me 7.5 hours to complete 31 miles, and I was afraid I’d have to walk for two or three hours to finish the race if it got too hot. I freaked and turned inward to my higher power. I said, “Inner Being, I can’t do this.”

And then I sat quietly and waited for my Inner being to answer. Soon, a lady I knew from a 12 Step program popped into my mind. She is deceased and I haven’t seen her for decades. I don’t think about her often. I remember her as a wise woman who dispensed wisdom in 12-step meetings. It was quite a surprise to have her visit my meditation. She dispensed wisdom to me. She said, “I can’t, He can, I think I’ll let Him.”

I took this to mean, “Let go, Let God.” I did. I released my fear and came to believe that my Inner Being could do what I cannot. And so, the night before the race, I prepped my drinks and drop bags. I taped my toes and laid out my clothes. I went to bed early and woke up at 1:30 in the morning. The alarm wasn’t until 3:30, so I read a book. I was eager to go to the race. After I got up, I drank some coffee and ate a little. Then jumped in the car and drove an hour to the race.

All went well. I arrived in plenty of time and the race started at 6:30. It wasn’t really that cool for the morning low. I decided to jog as long as I could, to get in as many miles as I could, before the heat caught up to me, and I’d have to add in walk breaks. It turns out that I jogged up to about mile 18. I felt really good about these miles. At that point, however, it was getting hot so I added walk breaks to manage my heat stress.

I drank about one liter of Super Fuel (by Skratch) every 6 miles. Because of this, I got plenty of calories and felt really good the whole race. I also drank two packets of Pedialyte and took four Endurolyte salt tablets. I ate one gel and three Skratch bars. I had to stop at the porta-potties at every aid station every 6 miles, which means I was properly hydrated. But I took a lot of time in each aid station too. I am incredibly happy with my moving time of 7 hours and 5 minutes. I loved the ribbon and belt buckle we got as finisher awards.

The next day, I was tired but nothing injured. I want to complete a 50 mile race in two months. I now believe that I am capable of completing 50 miles, however slowly. For this 50k, I don’t think I entered the pain cave like I did last April when I did a 50k on the same course. I did many more training miles leading up to this race.

The next day. I found myself also asking myself why I do these ultramarathons. I don’t think it is about accomplishment, because that feeling is so fleeting. I don’t think it is about ego, because no ego can maintain the momentum needed to train for and finish such a race. I think it has to do with my spiritual nature. These experiences have a spiritual component that I appreciate. My life is a spiritual experience. My life doesn’t have a purpose. My life is just existing and aligning with The Greater Consciousness.

Don’t look like I’m 63 in either of these photos.


A Tale of Two Dogs

This post is a story, a fable of the Universe. This story is an analogy, a display of my metaphysical reality. In a story of two dogs, I found my own behavior and how it should change if I want to receive good things from the Universe. I got this story from a YouTube video. (

Two stray dogs were lost out in the Colorado wilderness. One dog was a little bit older. One dog was a big puppy. Two nice people, a couple, were camping in the area. The couple saw the dogs and stopped their car. The puppy comes over, just like puppies do, licking and wanting a pat. The puppy slurps down a piece of salami. The older dog is afraid, too afraid to come near and get a piece of salami. The older dog gets too frightened and runs off into the bushes. The puppy jumps in the car and gets driven off to a wonderful new home. (Yes, start crying at this point at how lucky that puppy is).

My point? When the Universe answers your prayer with an unexpected handout, act like the puppy and not the older dog. Get in the car. Sure, life has beaten me up a bit, but it is not too late for me to receive a miracle. I need to put aside my fear or arrogance and accept the gifts. The gifts come, but it is up to me to try to act like the puppy. I should just jump in the car and get driven off into the wonderful new situation available to me. Be humble. Receive the surprise. Allow the miracle. You never know when some other person will stop and offer to help. Take it.

Charlie Salami

It’s Great to be Alive

That is what I said to myself as I finished my run today. It was sunny, but not humid. 15.4 miles. I carried a pack with a liter and a half. I jogged through a forest. I felt awesome. (YouTube video linked under the picture.)

My 50k (31 mile) race is in two weeks. So far this month I’ve covered over 250 miles, 4 long runs, weights almost every day. I love living the life of a professional athlete. Yes, since quitting my part time job I’ve gone full on athlete. I love it. This is truly doing what I want when I want: training for long races. I just drank a green smoothie. That helps alot too.

I am dreaming. I found out about a running tour of Mont Blanc, in the French Alps. It is definitely on my bucket list, 2023.